I’ll admit it. I walk down the stationary aisle of Target for recreational purposes. Nothing soothes my soul like an unmarked notebook. Yet neither of those things top the geeking out I do when a new planner arrives in the mail.

Yes, I’m being totally serious.

My 2015 design, except mine says "MICHELE." And it's spelled right, unlike anything ever purchased from King's Island. Image via Plum Paper Deisgns.

My 2015 design, except mine says “MICHELE.” And it’s spelled right, unlike anything ever purchased from King’s Island. Image via Plum Paper Designs.

I live and die by old fashioned, paper and pencil (NOT pen, but if it must be pen, make it blue ink) spiral bound planner. Steal my credit cards, even my passport, but if you take my planner for even a day I will loose my mind. I most definitely won’t remember to show up for a doctor’s appointment or parent-teacher conferences. Even regular commitments are questionable, like my small group that meets every Tuesday, because I allow my planner to keep so much of my calendaring that I’ve trained my brain to no longer retain that information.

In fact, I like to believe that my reliance on my planner makes me smarter. Writing down even our menu plans gives me more space in my brain for the necessary thoughts that consume my life. Like how to improve grocery stores. You know, meaningful stuff.

Since my time in high school I’ve kept a personal calendar full of information needed to arrange my life. At the beginning of new seasons, semesters or a series of events, I mark each occurrence in my planner. I was nerdy enough to mark every assignment, test and final. Now JJ teaches the FPU class at our church on Wednesdays – and it is marked each week to remind me to have dinner that will be finished quickly so he won’t be late. I chart bills alongside doctor appointments and weekend trips.

Why the old school planner, you ask? We’ve got these fancy-dancy cell phones now that you can even share your calendar with family, why write it down? It’s simple – the act of writing it down and seeing it on paper gives it more meaning. At least, to me. And also to the smart people who do expensive studies on how people retain information.

And let’s just admit it. There’s a certain glory in crossing off a week, a bill paid or task complete. Life is too short to deny yourself such pleasure.

I used to settle for the cheapest month-with-weekly-view available, but I’ve upped my game since entering adulthood. I graduated to a fabric-covered Target version, but now I order online. I’ve tried a few makes and models and I’m now a repeat-orderer from Plum Paper Designs on Etsy. Last year’s model included a double calendar so I could have my work and my home stuff separate. This year I condensed to the single view but added extra notes pages to each month for space to do other planning and note taking, specifically for work and other meetings.

You can custom create your workspace on the weekly view, as well. My preference is for the Morning – Afternoon – Evening – Checklist in the daily view because I utilize a “blocks of time and groups of people” mentality in planning my days. You can also have the hourly version or a blank, lined space to work. For those who prefer to organize by kid, you can label the blocks by family member (by ordering the “Family Planner“).

Last year I attempted a DIY, on-the-cheap version, but I learned my lesson.I chucked my print-it-yourself through the window of a moving vehicle. (Ok, slight exaggeration.) So, I started last year’s planner in March, thanks to Plum Paper Designs allowing you to choose your start and end month, up to 18 months of calendar beauty. For those of us who are economically minded, you get 6 more months without replacing. For those who place a higher value on beautiful things, that’s six months longer you must wait to reorder. I know, life is full of hard decisions.

And on the “beautiful things” note: that might be the hardest part of ordering. So many gorgeous, colorful designs with Michele-approved fonts. Serif and sans serif! Whoops. My inner nerd is showing again.

So, to you, good reader, who desires to become more organizationally focused and perhaps loves a bit of beauty in your every day life, I suggest to you the Plum Paper Designs planner. They take up to 6 weeks (mine came sooner) for printing and delivery, so order your 2015 soon. We’re rapidly approaching that uncomfortable season of having to carry around 2 planners.

Make sure you browse the add-ons page for your order to really make it your own. This year I opted for the Monthly Bill Tracker and additional monthly notes pages. There’s a monthly cleaning chart, if that’s your thing, or checklist pages.

To make your life even better, there is a discount code! I know, right?! Plum Paper Designs has generously offered to give readers 10% off their order with the code MINEHART10. (Note: I make nothing off of this. However, let’s call it a team effort. Perhaps if enough of you order with this code, they’ll cover the cost of my addiction next year and we can all be winners?). This code is good until 12/3/2014.

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